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Veteran broadcast journalist publishes memoirs
November 12, 2012

The Chairperson of MISA-Zimbabwe Njabulo Ncube has urged Zimbabwean journalists to write and publish memoirs on their professional experiences and the momentous events and policy decisions that influenced the shaping of the country's socio-economic, political and cultural development.

Ncube was speaking during a press club debate at the Bulawayo Press Club on 9 November 2012 on the role of journalists in educating and enhancing access to information through writing their own memoirs.

The press club debate which was attended by journalists and representatives of civic society organisations, also coincided with the official commissioning by MISA-Zimbabwe of: A Nose for News, a compilation of memoirs written by veteran broadcast journalist, Tapfuma Machakaire.

The memoirs were published under MISA-Zimbabwe's Journalist-in-Residence Programme which has since also published A Sort of Life in Journalism and The Power and the Glory written by veteran journalists Bill Saidi and Grace Mutandwa, respectively.

"As journalists you are of course aware that all the information that we gather does not necessarily find its way into the public sphere either through radio, television or newspapers.

"Memoirs therefore serve the purpose of collecting, compiling, refining and repackaging information and facts that were either lost, censored or edited out during the production processes of news stories. Call it (memoir writing) value-adding journalism," said Ncube.

He said the publication of Machakaire's memoirs, marked the coming of age of Zimbabwean journalism in that Machakaire becomes the first Zimbabwean broadcast journalist to publish his own memoirs having ably followed in the footsteps of veteran print journalists such as Geoff Nyarota, Saidi and Mutandwa.

Ncube said memoir writing was a high form of "in-depth-behind-the-scenes story telling" which serves to empower, educate, inform and enhance access to information on what happened and what ought to be.

"As journalists we should therefore be the authoritative chroniclers and writers of our own history. We should . . . take the lead and be the entry and reference points for historians.

"The narratives and experiences of journalists through the writing of memoirs are critical in fostering media freedom, freedom of expression and access to information hinged on ethical journalism that is cognisant of history and its impact on the present and future," said.

Machakaire said journalists should retain their notebooks and tapes from day one and also read widely and collect as much information and material as is possible during the course of their professional work. He said this helps greatly when it comes to compiling and writing memoirs for posterity.

"I am more than convinced that through his memoirs, Machaks (as Machakaire is otherwise known) takes over and continues from where daily journalism cannot go by conveying to us certain events in the past with accuracy, fairness, rich and well researched background."

Veteran journalist Ray Mawerera who edited the book, describes it as a learning aid for the journalism student that is not only informative and entertaining, but one that is of historical and educational value.

"If the real Zimbabwe story must be told, then the Zimbabwe journalist must stand up and do the telling," says Mawerera.

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